Over the past couple of weeks, we have been working with the College Town Collective / Mayor's Artist In Residence, to create a mural in the outdoor area of Shiloh.
Shiloh is a charity in Rotherham that offers warmth, practical support and pathways to a meaningful, self-reliant life for adults in need, regardless of their beliefs. They provide compassion and dignity including facilities for washing, showering and laundry. They work with people one to one and can connect guests to other support services enabling them to make better choices for an independent life. Truly an incredible charity that do so much good for the people who's misfortune has led them to this point in their lives.
Our first step was to visit the guests of Shiloh and see what their ideas were for the murals. They had the idea to paint a Tree Of Life, with the roots being their past, with negative terminology and where they have come from, and the branches representing their growth and the positive path they are on now. The CTC took this design on and did an amazing job.
We were given complete free reign of the second section of wall. We went through some of our designs and doodles and came across a Koi Carp design with a geometric background that was well received by the guests. I believed this was fitting and the Koi Carp represents courage, strength and bravery, which I think best describes the guests for taking a huge leap towards building a more positive life. Koi Carp are also known for swimming upstream which symbolises a journey, pushing through adversity.
Following the completion of the murals, we were invited to the private opening function, celebrating the official launch of the new premises. The afternoon was fantastic. We heard speeches from Sarah Champion (Rotherham Labour MP), Eve Rose (Mayor of Rotherham), members of the council, Rotherham Friends in Deed, and the chairman of Shiloh. They unveiled the plaque, celebrated 25 years of Shiloh, declared their further 25 year lease on the property with room for growth and an outstanding £250,000 of funding from the National Lottery! It was a moving experience to say the least.
Following the speeches, we went to the outdoor area to relax, which is where I met Eve Rose, Mayor of Rotherham. I was greeted with a warm embrace and thanked for the work I had done for the charity. Had an incredible chat, a few photos and even got invited to the town hall for cakes and tea! (And obviously we are going, because cake!)
Overall, we had a great time, humbled by the charitable nature of everyone and incredibly thankful for being involved.
If you would like to learn more about Shiloh, or even volunteer or make a donation, visit their website here.